Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights

MISSOULA -

The Fourth of July is a holiday when we as Americans celebrate our independence and remember what it took for our country to gain the rights and freedoms we value.

Throughout July, ABC FOX MONTANA will share the stories of hometown heroes, who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities.

Dan Gallagher left his family's farm in Charlo at the age of 18 to join the Army as a combat engineer in the Vietnam War.

It was in the highlands of Vietnam where Gallagher saw the human destruction war can cause -- scenes he said he'll never forget.

"Kids with stumps… where a foot used to be, where they'd stepped on a mine," Gallagher said.

When he returned to the U.S., Gallagher said he and his fellow servicemen were greeted only with hostility from war protesters, who called the soldiers "baby killers."

He explained, "You cannot go and commit yourself to war and to the mindset that goes with fighting a war, come back to polite society and fit in, it just… you can't do it."

Gallagher said the return to civilian life took a toll on his mental health.

"I became withdrawn into myself, there was depression, there was all the problems that go with PTSD," he said.

With the help of a friend who was a prisoner of war in World War II, Gallagher slowly opened back up to society.

"All of a sudden you're talking about things you thought only you suffered from, and you realize others have the same issues," Gallagher said.

Gallagher has since dedicated his life to helping veterans receive the support and services they need to recover after war. Today, he said veterans young and old struggle to obtain the federal benefits they're promised by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and if they do, it can take years.

"And, I don't know if the American people are aware of that, if they are, they should be outraged," he said.

Gallagher works with American Legion Post 101 and other veterans groups to raise public awareness -- and inspire action -- to help veterans receive the support they deserve. He's also taken part in public service announcements, encouraging veterans to get the help they need if they're suffering from PTSD.

"If you can change, I guess just one life, or help one life, that's pretty damn good in it of itself," Gallagher said.

Gallagher's son, Colin, said, "A lot of people would consider it volunteer, but I think for him it's really about passion."

Gallagher's family members said his efforts become evident when community members approach Gallagher after he speaks at a Veterans' or Memorial Day event.

"More than anything, they want to tell him thank you for dealing with all the issues around it," Colin added.

Colin's younger son, Brian, said, "Walking in the mall, or downtown, people will come up and say thank you, and these are people I've never met and he may not even know."

"He just embraces the community, and he makes everyone feel welcome," said Kiley, one of Gallagher's granddaughters.

Gallagher said his work in Missoula is only a small part of what needs to be done across the country to ensure veterans receive their rights. But, he says he'll continue his efforts, no matter how small the reward.

Last year, Gallagher earned the Jeanette Rankin Peacemaker Award for his efforts to bridge the gap between veterans and peace activists in Missoula.

  • NationalMore>>

  • APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

    APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

    Thursday, June 21 2018 1:01 AM EDT2018-06-21 05:01:41 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 8:23 AM EDT2018-06-21 12:23:38 GMT
    (Ohio State University via AP). This photo shows 1978 employment application information for Dr. Richard Strauss, from Ohio State University’s personnel files reviewed by The Associated Press. Strauss, who died in 2005, and is now accused of sexual mis...(Ohio State University via AP). This photo shows 1978 employment application information for Dr. Richard Strauss, from Ohio State University’s personnel files reviewed by The Associated Press. Strauss, who died in 2005, and is now accused of sexual mis...
    APNewsBreak: Schools where late doctor claimed ties are mum on any connections as Ohio State investigates sex abuse claim.
    APNewsBreak: Schools where late doctor claimed ties are mum on any connections as Ohio State investigates sex abuse claim.
  • Trump's immigration order sparks confusion, deep concern

    Trump's immigration order sparks confusion, deep concern

    Thursday, June 21 2018 3:42 AM EDT2018-06-21 07:42:28 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 8:23 AM EDT2018-06-21 12:23:34 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump, center, listens to Vice President Mike Pence, right, address members of the media before signing an executive order to end family separations at the border, during an event in the Oval Office...(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump, center, listens to Vice President Mike Pence, right, address members of the media before signing an executive order to end family separations at the border, during an event in the Oval Office...
    President Trump's executive order aimed at halting the breakup of immigrant families sparked widespread confusion Wednesday about how the reversal will play out and concern that children will still be in detention,...
    President Trump's executive order aimed at halting the breakup of immigrant families sparked widespread confusion Wednesday about how the reversal will play out and concern that children will still be in detention, even if they remain with their families.
  • Legal pot will roll out differently in Canada than in US

    Legal pot will roll out differently in Canada than in US

    Thursday, June 21 2018 2:11 AM EDT2018-06-21 06:11:39 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 8:24 AM EDT2018-06-21 12:24:35 GMT
    (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP, File). FILE - In this April 20, 2015 file photo, a Canadian flag with a cannabis leaf flies on Parliament Hill during a 4/20 protest in Ottawa, Ontario. Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a natio...(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP, File). FILE - In this April 20, 2015 file photo, a Canadian flag with a cannabis leaf flies on Parliament Hill during a 4/20 protest in Ottawa, Ontario. Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a natio...
    With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in the nine U.S. states that have legalized adult use of the drug.
    With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in the nine U.S. states that have legalized adult use of the drug.
  • Most Popular

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.